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‘Green’ and clean: Wash your reusable bags

Photo: Antonio_Diaz/iStockphoto

Reusable grocery bags are a good choice for the environment, but you need to practice food safety when using them, cautions the New York State Department of Health.

Why? Germs such as E. coli or salmonella can linger in the bags long after you’ve taken food items out, so make sure you wash and dry the bags after each use.

Here are more tips from the department to help reduce the spread of germs:

  • Put meat, fish or poultry; fresh produce; and ready-to-eat foods in separate bags. Raw meats should be placed in a disposable plastic bag before putting them in a reusable bag.
  • Use laundry detergent to clean your cloth reusable bags in a washing machine. Afterward, they can be placed in the dryer or air-dried.
  • Scrub plastic-lined reusable bags with hot water and soap, then air-dry them. Don’t store bags away until they’re completely dry.

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